The Best Places to Retire for Health Care

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For many active adults, the availability and accessibility of high-quality health care is a top priority when planning for retirement.

When planning for retirement, one of the most important factors for many active adults is the availability and accessibility of high-quality health care. Whether retiring in your home state or across the country, the area you live in can affect your health more than you may think. With more and more communities offering modern fitness centers, walking and hiking trails, and various sports facilities, living in an active adult community can help keep you healthy. Whether you enjoy staying active through group classes and sports tournaments or staying fit on your own, 55+ communities can help.

A few research agencies, such as U.S. News & World Report and Kiplinger, provide statistics about health care that may help active adults decide where to retire. Another resource, the Healthgrades National Health Index, ranks cities on health factors such as quality of hospitals, accessibility of care, availability of local specialists, and overall population health.

We coupled those rankings with a consideration of other valuable retirement factors, such as affordability, quality of life, things to do, and nearby active adult communities. This helped us determine some of the best places to retire to facilitate senior health.

No matter where you might want to retire across the nation, this list can provide more information about some of the country’s best health care options. From east to west, here are eight of the best places to retire for health care.

Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford Connecticut green space
Hartford, Connecticut / Photo by Jon Bilous /

Those who dream of a New England retirement can also find some of the nation’s best health care in Hartford, Connecticut. The state ranks third in the country for overall access to health care.

This historic capital city is home to Hartford Hospital, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, and UConn Health. With major hospitals and health centers throughout the state, residents almost always find themselves within reach of award-winning medical care.

Throughout the four distinct seasons, residents tend to stay active, making the population one of the healthiest in the country. Active adults can walk and bike through the downtown area which is known for its well-preserved architecture, historic attractions, and the Park River. For a day at the beach, the Atlantic Coast is only about 40 minutes away.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Pennsylvania park and fountain
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Photo by Roman Babakin /

Ever since Benjamin Franklin co-founded the country’s first public hospital in Philadelphia in 1751, the city has continued to uphold high standards of health care. The area’s hospitals rank well for overall quality and abundance of local specialists, and there are plenty of communities near these medical centers.

Some of the best local health care facilities include Temple University Hospital, Jefferson Frankfort Hospital, and Einstein Medical Center. Also, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Penn Medicine ranks highly for specialties such as diabetes and endocrinology, cardiology and heart surgery, and cancer treatment.

In addition to quality health care, residents can pursue an active lifestyle by exploring nearby states such as Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York. The surrounding small towns offer a more affordable and laid-back lifestyle.

Williamsburg, Virginia

Garden in Williamsburg Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia / Photo by Stephen B. Goodwin /

Located less than one hour from Richmond and Virginia Beach, the city of Williamsburg boasts first-class health care. Since nearby Richmond also offers a top-ranked selection of hospitals, most residents can stay in the state for the medical care they need.

The best hospitals in Williamsburg include Riverside Doctors’ Hospital of Williamsburg and Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, which has earned a superior performance rating for its care of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, and hip replacements.

In addition to tax-friendliness, the state offers affordable housing options and active adult communities, such as the 55+ golf community Colonial Heritage and the expansive, amenity-rich Ford’s Colony.

Cultural attractions include the scenic Colonial Parkway, Prince George Street, and the Muscarelle Museum of Art. At William and Mary, the country’s second-oldest university, 60+ retirees can audit some classes for free.

Charleston, South Carolina

Waterfront in Charleston South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina / Photo by Sean Pavone /

South Carolina has no shortage of both active adult communities and quality health care providers. Residents of Charleston have access to some of the state’s top hospitals. The Healthgrades National Health Index named Charleston the No. 1 medium-sized city and the No. 3 overall city for health care. The city’s hospitals host highly rated specialists and consistently earn superior clinical outcomes.

Residents enjoy easy access to hospitals such as MUSC Medical Center, Roper Hospital, and Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital. Due to the humid subtropical climate, winters stay mild for a comfortable year-round climate, which means no more harsh winters for Midwestern retirees.

As a coastal city, residents have abundant opportunities to enjoy the surrounding rivers and the Atlantic Ocean. With several beaches less than 20 minutes away, active adults can boat, fish, canoe, swim, and sunbathe at their leisure. The area’s low-maintenance active adult communities can help make a laid-back lifestyle even more accessible.

Jacksonville, Florida

Fountain and downtown skyline in Jacksonville Florida
Jacksonville Florida / Photo by GagliardiPhotography /

Florida boasts over 250 active adult communities and some of the top-rated hospitals in the country. For health-minded residents, finding a community near quality health care providers is easy.

With 22 miles of white sand beaches, Jacksonville matches many retirees’ image of a Florida retirement. Waterways, rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean offer an abundance of outdoor recreation, from boating to fishing to parasailing.

In Jacksonville, retirees can enjoy an active retirement alongside some of the Sunshine State’s best healthcare options, including Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, and UF Health Jacksonville.

In addition to a coastal landscape that makes staying active convenient and fun, there are many active adult communities where residents can live a low-maintenance lifestyle. This allows retirees to have more free time to pursue their hobbies.

Naples, Florida

Fountain in Napels Florida
Napels, Florida / Photo by Andriy Blokhin /

Another place to retire in Florida near health care is Naples, located south of the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area. The area is a coastal oasis for those who enjoy sport fishing, boating, golfing, and festivals.

The area features both NCH Baker and NCH North Naples hospital, which means that top-quality care is often within reach. There are also two Physicians Regional facilities and more than twelve Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida centers.

Nearby Fort Myers offers HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital, which have both previously received America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for Clinical Excellence. These hospitals scored exceptionally well for treating heart attacks, heart failure, respiratory failure, and COPD.

Austin, Texas

Park in Austin Texas
Austin, Texas / Photo by Roschetzky Photography /

Some of the most popular active adult communities in Texas are located in the Austin-Georgetown area in the heart of Texas Hill Country. These sought-after resort-style 55+ communities include Sun City Texas, Kissing Tree, and Heritage at Vizcaya.

Texas retirees can experience an amenity-rich lifestyle near Downtown Austin. This up-and-coming city boasts so much to enjoy, like top-notch live music, farm-to-table restaurants, and scenic parks and lakes.

Texas boasts nearly 630 hospitals, and many of the best in the state are located in Austin. Some of the highest performing hospitals include Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, St. David’s Medical Center, Arise Austin, Heart Hospital, and Northwest Hills Surgical.

Mesa, Arizona

Mesa Arizona with mountains in the background
Mesa, Arizona / Photo by CactusPilot /

Low humidity, clear skies, and clean air all characterize the warm, desert climate of Mesa, Arizona. The dry heat and steady barometric pressure help make the Grand Canyon State one of the best places to retire for those with joint pain or arthritis.

With many of the state’s best hospitals and medical centers located in the Phoenix metropolitan area, retirees can find their dream home and still live near top medical care. Some of the top care centers in Mesa include Dignity Health Arizona Hospital, Mountain Vista Medical Center, Allegiant Health Care of Mesa, and Adelante Healthcare Mesa.

Active adults have plenty of reasons to retire in Arizona. For basell fans, the Cactus League brings some of the country’s best teams to the area. For nature lovers, the Grand Canyon is just a day trip away. And for affordable retirement, there are plenty of low-priced active adult communities, plus there’s the added benefit of low tax rates and no tax on Social Security benefits.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and
Details here.

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We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

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